How Can I Be Accused of Kidnapping My Own Child?
Parental instincts usually guide mothers and fathers to take measures providing safe conditions for their children. However, when courts become involved in the status of parents and children, criminal charges can arise out of behavior that would, absent court involvement, constitute nothing more than good parenting.
IC 35-42-3-2 establishes that a “person who knowingly or intentionally removes another person, by fraud, enticement, force, or threat of force, from one place to another commits Kidnapping.” This crime is a felony, the level of which depends on the specific circumstances.
While kidnapping charges could apply under certain circumstances to a parent who takes a child from the legal guardian, usually the appropriate charge for this type of act is Interference with Custody, defined by IC 35-42-3-4 Version b which provides that, a “person who, with the intent to deprive another person of child custody rights, knowingly or intentionally: (1) removes another person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age to a place outside Indiana when the removal violates a child custody order of a court; or (2) violates a child custody order of a court by failing to return a person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age to Indiana; commits interference with custody.”
Defenses to Charges Associated with Taking a Child Contrary to Court Order
If the parent of a child takes and holds that child against the custody rights of the other parent, the court will hear and evaluate claims made by the accused associated with the safety of the child. If the defendant reasonably believed that the child was vulnerable to dangerous conditions, or “threatened” as specified in the statute, and acted in this belief, evidence of this claim can lead to dismissal of charges.
Examples of such threats are direct physical abuse inflicted by the other parent or occupants of the domicile of the other parent, and dangers arising out of the activities of the other parent or cohabitants such as drug sales conducted out of the home.
Get Legal Representation; Let the Facts be Heard
Taking or keeping a child naturally born to one seems like an instinctive and inherent right, but when court rulings conflict with this seemingly natural act, criminal liability can result and future visitation rights can be infringed. If you or a loved one is involved in a dispute revolving around court-decided custody rights, you need an experienced family lawyer on your side. Contact or call the Law Office of Stanley E. Robison Jr. now at (812) 945-3055 for a confidential consultation. Protect your rights to protect your own.